Scenario: Contest of Champion
Opponent: John Petrelli – Mordor featuring Black Guard and the Shadowlord
Going into the tournament, I felt like Contest of Champions would be the best scenario for me. Having Thorin (Gimli) as a Champion supported by Gandalf to help neuter the other champion. However, I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous about this particular match-up. I knew that John was a very good player and an army full of the new Black Guard Uruk’s would be difficult to handle. With the Shadowlord providing a constant nuiscance I knew this wouldn’t be an easy match-up. I know that John was debating all along which hero to take as his Champion – the Black Guard Captain or the Shadowlord. Ultimately John selected the Black Guard Captain and we were off.
John won the roll-off for deployment (which was perfect for me) and he spread out his line along the entire edge of the board. He put both the Shadowlord and Black Guard Captain on my left side of the board. I deployed my entire force as a tight group to my far right side. My strategy was simple enough, I was going to try to charge directly across the board and pick off a few models before John could close his army around me.
As usual, I started the game off with a Cast Blinding Light followed by Terrifying Aura. John had twelve orc trackers but could never really put any hits on me as I crossed the board. I was a bit evil and when I had the opportunity I put the volley fire shots on Bilbo. I know I probably shouldn’t but as he was the weakest model in my force and I didn’t want to have an easy target for John’s champion.
During the long slog across the board, I was presented with an early opportunity to cast a Sorcerous Blast and my luck continued. I hit an orc and rolled a 6 for the distance he was pushed back. I had positioned Gandalf so that this flying orc flew into both the Black Guard Captain and the Shadowlord. The orc was killed, the Black Guard Captain took a wound and the Shadowlord lost his horse! That’s some pretty good luck. This put me a tremendous tactical advantage, in that John needed to be very careful with his Champion as he only had one wound left and by losing the Dark Steed from the Shadowlord, his “threat” range was greatly diminished.
As I managed to cross the board, there was a cluster of Black Guard that I tried to focus on in an effort to get Thorin some kills. I used Gandalf to threaten the Captain and the Shadowlord but ultimately used Gandalf to command the Black Guard warriors towards Thorin. I managed to draw one in and score my first kill. Leading 1-0 in kills I felt like my primary job would be to try and do the best I could to neutralize the Black Guard Captain.
John and I danced around the board for most of the next hour each playing cat and mouse trying to get position. He was very effective in firing off the Black Dart spell. He managed to score wounds on Thorin that I had to save with fate and try and resist with will. I was able to get off one more Command that led to another kill for Thorin, bringing my lead to 2-0 in kills but Thorin was down to his last wound, no will, and no fate. At the same time, the Black Guard Captain was at least 24 inches from my lines as there was just too much concern for Gandalf to get off that second Sorcerous Blast.
John’s trackers continued to volley into the Unexpected Party. However, he could never get that elusive wound on Thorin. Twice he was able to roll a ‘6’ but couldn’t follow that up with the 5+ he needed. In the meantime, I finally realized that I should be putting any other hits on my non-heroes. It didn’t matter to me if they died to archery as they weren’t available for the Captain to kill.
John and I traded punches with spells. I used Gandalf’s Strengthen Will to help give some will back to Thorin. I gave John an opening and using his last point of Will, the Shadowlord was able to Sap the remaining Will from Gandalf. At this point, Gandalf only had one Will in reserve but that was enough to lose both the blinding light and the terrifying aura. We had less than 30 minutes in our game and John knew he had to take a few risks to try and get his Champion some kills.
He cleared a path across the board and the Champion started his charge. Using only the free point of Will from each turn, Gandalf was able to get off two consecutive Sorcerous Blasts (rolling ‘6’) both times. While neither wounded, I did manage to throw him back 6 inches and 3 inches in two consecutive turns. After a failed immobilize spell in the previous turn, the last turn of the game found us rolling off a Heroic Move. I won the roll-off and Gandalf was able to Immobilize the Captain. As time expired, the game ended with kills 2-0 in favor of Thorin.
Outcome: Major Victory – 20 Points. 60 Battlepoints in total.
Wow, what a strange game. John and I danced around for two and a half hours. We only had two hand to hand combats in the whole game and those were a direct result of Command spells. My Sorcerous Blast proved to be very effective in this game and John’s Black Darts were equally as scary. The nature of the scenario makes this type of game weird. It was quite odd that at one point in the game, I had Thorin lying down behind the dwarven line and John had his Champion 24 inches away from any of my models. I know that John wishes that he had chosen the Shadowlord as his hero and based on the rate at which he got the Black Darts off, I think he would have done much better with the Nazgul.
So after 4 rounds, I found myself tied with the 3rd highest battlepoints and would be playing on Table 2. With another Major Victory, I had a shot at Best Overall.